Anniversary of Great Hanshin Earthquake Commemorated in Japan
On the anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake (January 17, 1995) in Japan, Soka Gakkai members held memorial prayer meetings at four venues in Hyogo and Osaka prefectures, including the Soka Gakkai Hyogo Culture Center and Kansai Culture Center.
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent a message addressed to all those who had been affected by the quake, commending them for their tremendous recovery efforts in the aftermath of the devastation.
At the memorial service held at the Kansai Culture Center, Soka Gakkai leaders spoke about how they hoped Kansai Region would be a symbol of hope for those in the Tohoku Region who are now in the midst of reviving their region following the destruction caused by the Great East Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011.
Soka Gakiai members also shared their experiences of having survived the Great Hanshin earthquake and how the network of support and encouragement from fellow members was their life-line. One member spoke about how she had put up a tent for those in need of shelter and made an outdoor pit where she cooked food for everyone. She said that this tent became a nexus of dialogue and that through sharing experiences with others she learned the meaning of "treasures of the heart"--the potential and nobility latent in one's heart--and what Nichiren calls "our most valuable treasure."
One young man who lost his home in the Great Hanshin Earthquake spoke about how Soka Gakkai members in his area had created message cards of encouragement for those in Tohoku. He emphasized the power of encouragement in helping to give courage to people.
[Adapted from an article in the January 18, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]